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Smoking ban threatens Vancouver's hookah tea houses

2007-09-20 15:59:29

Our Comments

they're a place for Muslims to socialize freely since they don't usually frequent bars because of the presence of alcohol.

That seems like a strange excuse and it's not the writer's fault but it kind of implies that Muslims need and want these establishments for religious reasons.

The only thing relating to Islam & Hookah is that Hookah is an old cultural tradition and actually has nothing to do with our religion, just like the Hookah shops in Vancouver have nothing to do with Islam.

There are many other places in this city where Muslims can socialize anywhere.

The ironic thing is that smoking is forbidden in Islam, yet many Muslims identify Hookah as an accepted tradition.

Personally, I think these shops should be closed down.  There is no religious reason for it and everyone has to abide by the same laws in this country.

Full Article:

Smoking ban threatens Vancouver's hookah tea houses

Last Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2007 | 1:33 PM ET


A proposed smoking bylaw banning all forms of indoor smoking in Vancouver is threatening to close down several local hookah tea houses.

Hookahs are large communal water pipes designed to burn fragrant blends of tobacco.

Common across the Arab world, as well as India and Pakistan, hookahs are also known as shisha pipes and can also be used for herbal drinks and served with tea, in traditional Persian fashion.

Heated political debate is usually served on the side.

"The Canadian, American, European, they have the coffee shops," said Iranian immigrant Hamid Mohammadian.

"But our country: one block, four shisha bars. And everybody sits and meet together and make business and talking, the background, family, everything."

Mohammadian, 60, owns the Persian Tea House on Davie Street, one of three hookah shops in Vancouver threatened by the city's smoking ban.

For the 65,000 Iranians living in Vancouver, hookah shops play an important cultural role, he said, because they're a place for Muslims to socialize freely since they don't usually frequent bars because of the presence of alcohol.

The hookah bar is also a place to gather and discuss Iranian politics and other issues that they would be persecuted for talking about in Iran, Mohammadian said.

If Vancouver's anti-smoking law passes, the shops will have to close.

Mohammadian and his lawyer hope to persuade city councillors his business should be allowed to remain open when council meets on Thursday.

He said in other Canadian cities, including Toronto and Calgary, similar smoking bylaws have been put into place but have allowed hookah shops to provide non-tobacco alternatives (such as water and herbal smoking materials).

Vancouver's proposed bylaw will make no distinction; it outright bans all smoking indoors.

The city's stance is that second hand smoke, no matter what's in it, is dangerous.

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